The July Nutshell

July has seriously ZOOMED past, and I still wonder where all the time went!  I have been SO bad at updating my blog with my personal stories about life around here (which I know frustrates some of you), so I figured that it was really time for another nutshell post.

Hold on to your seats, ’cause here I go!

We LOVE summer BBQs, and we love hanging out with friends, so it was a lot of fun to be able to really ring in the summer with a 4th of July BBQ bash at our house with two other families.  We had MORE than enough food, cold drinks, fun stories and lots of laughter.  After everyone went home, we drove on out to Independence, Oregon, which is about 10 minutes away from our house and watched the HUGE fireworks show over the Willamette River.  Well, actually, we parked out by the airport and watched the fireworks over the tops of trees, but it was still a memorable event and will definitely become a tradition for us.

The next evening was the night of the flood.  {sigh}  I’ve already told you a bit of it, but I’ll start over.  We were packing, doing laundry, cleaning, etc., and getting ready to go to Vienna, Austria.  Mitch earned a trip through work, so we had really been looking forward to the trip for a long time.  It was late, we were tired, and we wanted to relax for a little while before resuming our packing.  Mitch started playing a board game with the boys while I hopped on the computer.  All of the sudden, Cole came out of my bedroom “all ready” to take a bath.  I thought it was cute and funny, so I told him to go show daddy.

Mitch laughed and said, “What are you doing?”

Cole: “I’m going to take a bath!”

Mitch:  “No, now is not the time to take a bath.”

Cole:  “Yes, Daddy!!  I take a bath!”

Mitch:  “Wait, did you already start the bath?”

Me:  “No.”  Frantic running into the bathroom.  “Oh my gosh!”

The scene – Picture a HUGE, deep, jetted bathtub, “Big enough to fit a 6’4″ man,” I told the builder.  Now, envision a waterfall gracefully flowing over the side and splashing into a large lake.  Yep.  My bathroom.  The water was ALL OVER the place, in the closet, and about 3-4 feet into the bedroom.  It was about 2 inches deep and quickly sinking into the flooring.  Mitch ran to grab the wet vac while I grabbed towels and my robe trying to stop the water from flowing into the bedroom.

I’m getting weary just typing this, so I’ll wrap this up.  ServePro came out late at night.  They mitigated the disaster, then took care of cleaning up the rest of the bathroom (new flooring, new carpet pad, re-laying the carpet, touch-up paint, caulk, etc.) while we were in Vienna.  They charged us an arm and a leg.  But, the bathroom looked like nothing happened when we arrived home.


Sweet Cole.  Master of destruction.

Ah, yes.  I mentioned Vienna.  Truthfully, I didn’t think too much about my bathroom and how much this clean-up job might be costing us because my husband had worked his behind off to earn this trip and we were so excited to be there that we were determined to leave our cares behind.

It was gorgeous!  We expected rainy weather, but it was sunny (HOT!) and beautiful almost the entire time.  The one morning that it rained, we were inside for a tour.  By the time we came outside, it was gorgeous again!  I’m working on a mini-album that I hope to finish this week, so I’ll post more pictures and details at that time.  Until then, I’ll leave you with this little list of things we did/saw:  Lots of time in Vienna – Hofburg Palace, Schonbrunn Palace, Stephansplatz, Judenplatz, a traditional dinner at a winery, a fancy-schmancy dinner at THE nicest place in Vienna (according to the cab driver), a tour of the Abby at Melk, a cruise down the Danube River with views of ancient castle ruins and picturesque towns, a day trip to Salzburg and lots of sight seeing there, a trip to Prague (Czech Republic) and more sight-seeing.  We spent a lot of time getting to know others within the company and really enjoyed making new friends.  It was such a treasured time for us.  I can’t wait to finish that album!  Eeek!

Schonbrunn Palace

Lake District outside of Salzburg


We didn’t sleep much AT ALL the entire time we were there.  Maybe 3 or 4 hours per night.  We didn’t take naps because we didn’t want to waste any time.  “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” became the motto.  And then we arrived home.  And then we thought we were going to die!  {said dramatically}  We are no longer spring chickens, and we took ALL week to recover from the lack of sleep.  It was rough.

However, we chugged along, planning Grant’s birthday party and decorating the house.  Grant celebrated his 6th birthday while we were in Vienna.  Remember the bags I made for a Bella Scraps tutorial using Vera Lim’s birthday kit?  Well, Grant LOVED opening a new little bag with a little present in it every day while we were gone.  We made sure to put little presents in there to share with Cole, too.  The boys stayed with their grandparents, so Grant didn’t really miss us on his birthday because he got to celebrate the “real” birthday with Grandpa and Grandma and the cousins.  They went ALL over the place:  Rode on a big boat, ate at Taco Bell, walked across the bridge to the carousel, ate cake.  It was cool!  And then, he spent the night at his cousins’ house.  He just loved it.

A few days after we got home from Vienna, we had his “friend” birthday party.  We had a pinata and hot dogs and about a dozen kids in our backyard.  Grant had a great time.  His party was supposed to be a Lego Star Wars theme, which is kinda fun.  I made the cake, like I always do.  It took me a LOT longer than cakes in years past, and it only kinda sorta looked like Legos stacked up.  But, Grant thought it was totally cool.  He said I was a genius.  He said the cake was fabulous and that now all of his friends would know that he loves Legos.  So, basically, I scored.


Before we left for Vienna, I ordered new curtains and a new chair to match the one we already had.  The big boxes arrived the morning we left for our trip (how convenient!), so I had to wait until after the trip to put them up/together.  You saw the results.  I had SO much fun pulling things from around the house together to try to create a more cozy family room.  Oh, it certainly isn’t done by any means, but at least I have a pretty good foundation!  My garage sale purchases have found homes, and I love the results.

The big push to get some decorating done came as a result of the 2009 Ratzlaff Family Reunion – Dee’s side.  My mother-in-law’s family tries to get together every 2 years for a family reunion.  She has a HUGE family and there are lots of cousins, so it is always a challenge to meet somewhere that will work for everyone.  And, since this side (Dee’s family) is the only family group on the West Coast, the reunion had never happened out here before.  So, we decided to host this year’s reunion in and around the Salem area.  Mostly, that means that my father-in-law and mother-in-law had 7 people stay with them, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law had 6 people stay with them, and we had 6 people stay with us.  The group was kinda small this year (since it is NOT cheap to travel across the country), but we had a serious amount of fun.


We had a progressive dinner (I hosted dessert), a day at the coast with a trip to Mo’s for clam chowder and a trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for cheese and ice cream, shopping at the outlet mall (with no kids!), time on the boat for the guys, a couple of BBQs, a trip to Silver Creek Falls, some wine tasting, and lots of games and great conversation.  We had such a wonderful time and I am so excited to go to the next family reunion.  We’ll start saving NOW (right, Mitch?), because I’m tired of missing the reunions.

And, with that, the month flew by.  I am SO behind on my personal scrapping, and now I have 4 mini albums that I MUST complete soon: Vienna, Cole’s train birthday, Grant’s Lego birthday, and the Family Reunion.  Oh, and regular old pages, too.  Hopefully I’ll be able to carve out some time to scrap a bit and you’ll pick up “the rest of the story” through my pages.  I need to be better about scrapping stories and not just pictures, and I’m determined to do it!

Have a happy August!!!

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